“You look like my Aunt…she’s in her 90s”

These were the actual words spoken by a man I had just met. Within minutes of our conversation, I had been described as looking like their elderly relative.

And far from being offended, it was probably the best thing I’d heard all day.

But let’s back up a bit…

In the early 1850s two different families were living in Franklin Village, Tasmania.  It was a small place with a small population, and one where neighbours were no doubt friends – or at the very least knew each other well.

Early Land District Chart showing the location of Franklin Village. From maps.thelist.tas.gov.au
Early Land District Chart showing the location of Franklin Village. From maps.thelist.tas.gov.au

One of these families was that of William Bishop – a young Englishman who had arrived from London several years earlier as a 19 year old.

The other was a family of four young orphaned children – Joseph, Samuel, Sarah and William Bishop. Their parents had died by 1849, and their grandfather, Joseph Moore, left them land in his Will when he too passed.

Two families with the same surname in the same tiny village at the same time.

But were they related?

That’s what I’ve been trying to find out for years.

It’s easy to imagine a scenario where ‘my’ William Bishop moved to Franklin Village to be near his young relatives (niece and nephews perhaps?) after losing their parents at such a young age.

Or even a scenario that he was living there already, having chosen to move there because that’s where his brother/cousin was already.

But more likely…it could have just been a coincidence.

A coincidence that also includes similar names appearing over the years in the respective families – Robert, Thomas, Henry, Percy and more – along with similarities including sporting pursuits (and successes), and later residences and occupations.

But nothing concrete.

So you can imagine my surprise (and delight!) at being told I reminded a man I’d just met of his elderly Aunt…

…who just happens to be descended from the ‘other’ Bishops of Franklin Village!

I have come to know these ‘other’ Bishops well, so as soon as he mentioned his grandfather’s name, it took everything in me not to run home, grab the spare DNA kit I have, and return demanding nicely requesting saliva.

We’d just met, so I didn’t (thanks, brain – nice save).

I know that ‘their’ Sarah was also known as Frances, that ‘their’ Percy won Tattslotto one year, and that ‘their’ Joseph had a stint as a licensee in the 1860s.

I know them like my own, and one day I do hope to find a connection.

One day I’ll find out where my William came from and who his parents were.

But in the meantime, I’m happy chipping away at this particular stump…and meeting potential cousins along the way.

2 thoughts on ““You look like my Aunt…she’s in her 90s”

  1. I am a descendant of William Bishop at the age of 19 arrived on the ship “Bolivar” with me direct line with son Joseph Bishop (twin Alfred). The other day a person from Tasmania has emailed me saying William Bishop christened 21st March 1825. St Sepulchre. London. His parents William & Mary. I have tried also to trace his family line, yet if William from London. What are the parents name of the four children Joseph Samuel Sarah Frances & William, I also will try and connect them. But at this stage I cant find a connection within William… Please could you email me on thombish@gmail.com with any information you have. Looking forward too making contact with you. Robyn

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    • Hi Robyn – thanks for dropping by! The only record I have been able to find for the parents of the four children is that of Sarah (Frances)’s death. Her husband was the informant, and he named them as Joseph Bishop and Frances Moore. BUT – there is another possibility of Thomas Bishop and Mary Moore that I’m following as well. I’ve updated the story above to include a link to the information for you.

      I did see that baptism for William Bishop in 1825, but have been unable to verify it’s him so it would be great to find out more. The only reference I have to his place of birth is simply ‘England’ (from death record). I can’t be sure that just because he departed from London, that this is also where he was born. Hopefully this person in Tasmania has just what we need! 🙂 I’ll be in touch via email as well. Cheers, Leanne.

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